Read: Mark 13
“You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak.” (Mark 13:35)
Will there really ever be a second coming of Christ? The early believers were convinced that Jesus would return in their lifetime, but he didn’t. Were they mistaken?
Now it’s 2,000 years later and he still hasn’t returned. Can we keep saying we are living in the end times and that Jesus could come back at any moment, or are we mistaken as well? All these signs that he predicted here in Mark 13 have been fulfilled—yet still no Jesus! Are we just fooling ourselves?
We would do well to remember what Jesus said in Mark 13:31 & 37, “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear… I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”
I suppose it is possible that Jesus could delay his coming another 2,000 years—I don’t think so, given the increasing instability of Planet Earth. Whatever the case, 2,000 years is no reproach whatsoever to God’s faithfulness or the truthfulness of his Word. That is precisely the point Peter made when he responded to the scoffers who taunted, “Where is the Lord’s coming?” (II Peter 3:4, 8-9)
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
The real reason Jesus has delayed his return is not negligence or carelessness, but kindness and mercy. And frankly, I am glad for that! I am glad Jesus didn’t return in 1956, because I would not have been born. I am glad that Jesus didn’t return in any one of the years since then, because in each successive year I know people who became followers of Jesus and were spared from a Christless eternity.
The fact that 2,000 years have passed is utterly irrelevant to the promise of Christ’s return. His coming is still imminent. It could occur at any moment. And his command to be watchful and ready is just as applicable today as it was to the early church. In fact, the possibility of his return should be even more urgent for us because we are now 2,000 years closer to it.
Paul said in Romans 13:11-12, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”
The writer of Hebrews said, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith.’” (Hebrews 10:35-38)
What Jesus, Paul, Peter, the writer of Hebrews and every other New Testament author are all saying is that one of the greatest acts of faith is simply this: To keep an eye on the sky and live each day as if Jesus might return at any moment!
That is how the early church lived, and that is exactly how God wants you and me to live! And if we were to truly grasp that, here is what that would mean for us today:
- We would be more patient in suffering. (Hebrews 10:32-39)
- We would be more loving and kind. (Jude 21)
- We would be more assertive in sharing Christ. (II Peter 3:9)
- We would be more forgiving to those who have hurt us. (James 5:8-9)
- We would be more careful in our moral life—our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions. (II Peter 3:11-12)
- We would be better stewards of the resources God has given us. (Matthew 25)
- We would be more focused on the eternal and less concerned with the temporal. (II Peter 3:13)
The truth is, we were made for another world! Jesus said, “when all these things begin to happen, stand straight and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28, NLT)
So as you go about your business today, keep one eye on the sky—this could be the day!
“Has this world been so kind to you that you would leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind…If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis
What If God Took Over?
When God is truly in total control of your life, you can sincerely pray this exciting prayer: Even so, come Lord Jesus!